The act of prepping is not just limited to actual preparation for a disaster situation. Preppers take it a step further by acquiring survival skills, such as obtaining food through agriculture, hunting and gathering; learning how to use different tools to accomplish various tasks and learning defensive skills.
Learning how to grow food is the most vital of skills. This is not to say that other survival skills are less important, but if you do not have food or a source of food, you will barely have the energy or strength to do anything else.
The good thing about gardening is that it can be done on any amount of space. You do necessarily need a huge chunk of land to grow food, even a small space will do just fine.
In this case, we are looking at growing food in small spaces, and three of the most important items that you need to get started include soil, compost and planting containers.
Soil is an important component when it comes to growing food. But, you can actually grow food without it using the hydroponic gardening technique. This technique involves growing food in nutrient rich water; instead of soil. This method is very ideal for growing food in small spaces.
In countries like Japan, hydroponic gardening is very popular and it is one of the techniques that preppers learn. However, if you do not have the know-how, and growing food in soil is the direction you are taking, then it is important that you mix the soil with a good balance of nutrients.
You can purchase mixed soil or you can choose to do it yourself. If you choose to mix the soil yourself, add compost and peat moss to your soil to enrich it. There are other great ingredients that you can mix with your soil to make it fertile, but if you have no idea what ingredients to add, it may be better to purchase already mixed soil.
When it comes to choosing planting containers, choose containers that you feel will work for you. There are so many options, from terracotta, plastic to the ceramic types. Most urban dwellers however use planter boxes, which are ideal if you want to plant a variety of vegetables.
Compost is a mix of decayed vegetation and manure; used as a fertilizer. You can choose to buy ready-made compost or make it yourself. Four main components needed for composting are oxygen, organic matter, bacteria and moisture.
- Organic matter
Organic matter is plant material or animal residue that is mixed together with soil. Generally, compost matter includes a mix of brown and green organic matter. Brown organic matter includes materials such as twigs, dead leaves and manure. Green organic matter includes materials such as fruit rinds, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit residue.
Green matter is a great source of nitrogen, while brown material is rich in carbon. To make good compost, you need to have a good balance of carbon and nitrogen. The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio is 30 parts carbon for every part of nitrogen.
To speed up the composting process shred or chop the materials and make sure your compost has enough moisture. If your pile has a lot of brown organic matter more than green matter, the materials will take time to decompose. So, it is advisable to add water to the pile. However, if the pile contains large amounts of green matter then it may become too wet and you will need to add some dry organic matter.
Oxygen plays a huge part in composting. Without it, the compost material may not compost properly. Furthermore, if the compost does not have adequate oxygen, it will start to give off bad odors.
Turning the pile every now and then keeps the pile aerated speeding up decomposition while preventing bad odors. The more times you turn your pile, the faster the compost materials will decompose that means your compost will be ready within a short period of time.
The ideal moisture content should be about 50%. It is important to check the moisture content of your pile because too little moisture will limit microbial activity, too much water and your pile will start to give off foul odors.
Bacteria gets the work done. Since, you are using organic matter to prepare your compost, the plant residue and water already contains bacteria, which will help with the decomposition process. Bacteria is not the only active composter in your pile, there are insects and earthworms, which also help with the decomposition process.
What else do I need?
You need information on what to plant and how to plant. The internet is a great source of information if you are looking for gardening tips. There also apps you can download that specialize in gardening like Gardening Companion and Garden Compass.
As for what type of vegetables and fruits to grow, that is entirely up to you. Ideally, it is best to start with plants that are easy to grow, such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and peppers. You may consider also planting zucchini, cucumber and potatoes. Fruits you may grow include strawberries, apples, oranges, apples, blueberries, figs and pineapple.
A creative urban gardener should also consider vertical gardening. The vertical system of growing vegetables requires less labor and offers more benefits. The traditional system of growing vegetables is quite challenging, when you consider that you have to constantly deal with pests and aggressive weeds. Furthermore, you need to constantly water the plants for them grow and flourish. With vertical gardening, most of the challenges encountered in the traditional system of growing vegetables are not as many.
Vertical gardening has numerous benefits and it is an ideal gardening technique for people with small spaces. Some of these benefits include;
- Less weeding
- Growing plants vertically and not in beds
- Less maintenance
- the chore of controlling pests is limited
- higher yields
- less expense on maintenance
There is no limit to what you can grow using the vertical system. Climbing vines, such as peas, cucumbers, asparagus bean are some plants that you can grow using vertical gardening. Other vegetables you can grow include sweet potato, watermelon, pumpkin, kale, broccoli, spinach and much more.
Gardening in small spaces has become extremely popular. This is a great way to save money on vegetables and fruits. Growing food on a chunk of land comes with a lot of challenges and seeing that the world population continues to grow each year, there may not be much land left for farming in future. This is why learning how to grow vegetables, herbs and fruits in small spaces is vital.
Even in a survival situation, when resources are limited, you will not starve if you have the skills and knowhow of growing vegetables and fruits in small spaces. The exterior walls of your home, your balcony and the property fence are just some of the spaces you can use to grow your favorite vegetables.
There is a high possibility that with the ever growing population, in future, worldwide food shortages may become a reality. So, why not learn how to grow your own food in your home.